Charter schools a hot topic as HB520 advances

Support & opposition of charter school bill

LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) -- Action on House Bill 520, which would allow charter schools in Kentucky is already being felt across the state with one group calling it possibly the biggest education reform since 1990.

A Jefferson County Public Schools spokesman says that if the legislature chooses to pursue charter school they're hopeful they adopt Annenberg Charter School Accountability Standards model that has very strict guidelines for oversight.

However as one supporter of charter schools put it anyone who thinks charter schools will fix all of the problems in education is being naive.

"This is a sad day,” said Gay Adelmann.  “It's a sad day for public education in Kentucky."

As House Bill 520 advances through the legislature Gay Adelmann says she's concerned at the effect of Charter Schools in the Blue Grass state.

"These schools will come to your communities,” said Adelmann.  “They will take money from your schools.  They will harm the most vulnerable students."

Among Adelmann’s chief concerns: "Will the schools have to have certified teachers,” said Adelmann.  “Will they have to provide free lunch?  Questions about transportation.  Unfortunately Dan Carney wasn't able to answer those questions."

Terry Brooks of Kentucky Youth Advocates argues that a version of charter schools already exist.

"Jefferson County has charter schools now,” said Brooks.  “If you have money those charter schools are called private and parochial schools.  If you have connections or if you have a child of rare abilities those schools are called magnets."

Brooks says if executed correctly House Bill 520 would open doors kids in disadvantaged communities and provide an affordable option to conventional public schools.

"Those folks who are so concerned about what charters may or may not do the real question is why wouldn't you want to give kids who are experiencing difficulty an alternative and a second chance to learn,” said Brooks.

"We have a lot of other things we could be doing to make public schools better,” said Adelmann.

"Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump agree on one issue: all four of them are strong advocates for charter schools,” said Brooks.

Louisville Mayor Greg released a statement saying he supports any effort to give children the best education possible.

He went on to add that he, and the school board should be involved in any successful charter school model here in Louisville.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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